File photo. Photograph:( Agencia EFE )
United Kingdom’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Sunday claimed that the upcoming week would be “very significant” for Brexit. Both sides are trying to reach a trade deal with five weeks to go before their current relationship ends
United Kingdom’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Sunday claimed that the upcoming week would be “very significant” for Brexit. Both sides are trying to reach a trade deal with five weeks to go before their current relationship ends.
In conversation with BBC, the minister referred to the time period as the “last real major week subject to any further postponement”, while adding that it “is a very significant week”.
Additionally, Raab added that the negotiations were now down to two basic issues, and hinted at the possibility of a deal if the European Union showed pragmatism.
The Times newspaper reported UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen would speak in the next 48 hours. Reuters has refuted the report.
The first sign of movement, either towards reaching a deal or towards setbacks is likely to be a call between Johnson and von der Leyen.
The Times also reported that the European Commission has started to "lean on" EU negotiator Michel Barnier to reach a deal with Britain, raising hopes that an agreement could come.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier arrived for talks in London on Saturday morning. He had said on Friday night that he was "very happy" to be back in the city and would keep working with "patience and determination".
Barnier and Britain's negotiator David Frost are working to secure a deal before the UK's transition period with the EU ends on December 31.
Both sides said on Friday that there were still big differences to overcome, as they both called for the other to compromise on the three main issues of contention - fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.
Britain left the bloc on January 31 this year and a "no-deal" final exit would snarl borders, spook financial markets and disrupt delicate supply chains that stretch across Europe and beyond - just as the world grapples with the vast economic cost of the COVID-19 outbreak.